Hurricane Sandy: Philadelphia Links

October 29, 2012 § Leave a comment

They say imitation is the best form of flattery. Well, I have long admired Research Buzz, and since I am compulsively following Hurricane Sandy and I need something to do as I ride out the storm…

Inspired by this monstorm, and by the NYC resources over at ResearchBuzz, (oohhh, and I see she has a nice Twitter List, too), I have decided to compile some resources here for the Philadelphia area, since Sandy seems to be packing a punch headed right at us.

First of all:

Anyone needing shelter from Sandy can send the text message SHELTER followed by the zip code to 4FEMA (43362).

PECO Emergency number: 1-800-841-4141

Twitter:

Weather Sites:

Local News:

Amusement:

Weather Geekery:

I’m posting this before I have compiled everything. Our Internet service is going in and out, so I will post updates as I can. Meanwhile, I hope this is helpful as we all ride out the storm.

Social Media Evangelism: Part I

July 24, 2011 § Leave a comment

The Ten Commandments of Social Media  

How to make social media work best for you 

I have recently taken on the role of Social Media Evangelist at my church as a part of the effort to get the word out to the community about all of the wonderful goings-on there. I have been promoting the use of social media among all of our members, inviting people to tweet, update their Facebook status, and check in on Foursquare. The pastors have even gotten in on the action! Just today, Pastor Vernice preached from her new iPad, and created a hash tag for the sermon. So cool!

As the self-identified Social Media Evangelist for Broadway United Methodist Church, I have been approached by members of the congregation to teach them how to “do social media”. So, I am preparing to schedule a class for the early fall. Meanwhile, I’m having lots of conversations with folks and dispensing advice on the fly.* I thought I would write down a few rules of thumb here as part of my brain storming and preparation. Here I have assembled my own Ten Commandments (this was not an original thought – there are many “Ten Commandments” lists already out there from other social media evangelists, but these are my own.)

  1. Thou shalt be social: Social media is social! Social media is less about technology and more about relationships. It is more important to understand the culture and etiquette. Social media is a conversation, and like the dynamic in any relationship, there’s give and take. It won’t give anything to you if you don’t give anything to it. But like many relationships (hopefully), you can easily pick up where you leave off.
  2. Thou shalt not worship false idols: You are smarter than your computer or “smart” phone.  Technology itself is useless and dumb until humans interface with it. It is people and how they interact with technology that makes it so amazing.
  3. Thou shalt not covet they neighbor’s smart phone: Social media isn’t for everyone. You should use social media to the degree that it is useful and natural to you.
  4. Thou shalt choose appropriate technology: Choose the tools that are right for you. There are many applications out there, and if you’re just diving into to social media for the first time, you don’t have to use them all. Start with one or two tools that most of your friends are using, because you want to be where your friends are, anyway.
  5. Thou shalt have fun. If you’re not having fun, it’s not worth the bother.
  6. Thou shall not disrupt your face-to-face interactions. By now, we’re all used to people being focused on their smart phones in meetings, on the bus, and in random social situations. Be mindful of the people around you.
  7. Thou shalt be patient with people who are not engaged with social media. Many people who don’t participate in social media will  judge it without understanding it. As you get into it, you may find that people assume that Twitter is stupid and Foursquare is a waste of time (and we all know what it means to assume anything). Don’t be deterred by the nay-sayers, and persevere with your own interests and engagement.
  8. Thou shalt not bear false witness. Before you share anything, be sure to check your sources and confirm whether or not the information you want to disclose is true, and your sources reliable. Don’t contribute to the stream of misinformation.
  9. Thou shalt practice social media etiquette. Be nice, and don’t take the bait from trolls. Positivity begets positivity. Be a good citizen and keep the discourse civil. When others are not civil, disengage from the conversation. Cite your sources, don’t use obscene language, and don’t forget to say thank you!
  10. Thou shalt focus on quality over quantity. Success in social media isn’t when you’ve accumulated the most friends or followers. Rather, it is about the quality of your interactions. If quality is your focus, your community will grow organically with relationships that are meaningful to you.
The “Part I” of this post suggests that I will follow up with sequential “Parts” that will cover different aspects of social media. I expect to continue developing the class for my church here. I hope you enjoy it! Feedback is gratefully welcome.

*Please note that I do not identify as a social media expert, guru, master, or supreme authority. I’m more of a dilettante, dabbler, amateur, or tinkerer.

#Hungerfast: Speaking out against budget cuts on the backs of the poor

April 10, 2011 § Leave a comment

This past week, people around the country chose to fast in protest of the cruel proposed budget cuts that would impose an even harsher economic reality upon the most needy in this country. Those of us who have the privilege to be able to put food on our tables for our families chose to stand in solidarity for a 24-hour period, or sometimes more, with those in this country who are hungry. There are people struggling in our communities, making impossible choices of whether to pay for medicine, rent, heat, or food. Folks can’t afford to pay for all of the basic necessities, so while those with privilege can choose to fast, there are many who have no choice.

I participated from sunrise to sunset on Wednesday this week, joining my coworkers and friends at Feeding America. We have been spreading the  movement through social media, and personal/professional blogs like mine. Some have been critical of the fast, saying that it is a silly, meaningless gesture. Maybe in and of itself it doesn’t accomplish much more than a symbolic protest, but it does raise awareness and challenges people to think about their choices and responsibilities.

The reality is that having nutritious food should be a right, not a privilege, and as a nation we have a responsibility to close the gap for those who are food insecure.

For more information about hunger in America and in your community, visit Feeding America’s website. The Map the Meal Gap research is especially compelling, as it brings the reality of hunger into focus for all of us. People are hungry in your community. Take the time to understand the facts and what you can do to help.

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